Friday, December 8, 2023

So, you’re frying a turkey, eh? Just make sure not to set the bird or house on fire

(WYDaily file/Courtesy of York County)
(WYDaily file/Courtesy of York County)

If you don’t want your holiday bird to go up in flames, fire-safety experts have a few tips for you.

Thanksgiving is the top day of the year for home cooking fires, according to fire officials.

And, frying is a popular method for cooking a Thanksgiving turkey.

To avoid having the fire department as an unexpected holiday guest, the National Fire Protection Association and the U.S. Fire Administration have a few tips — so any sparks you put out are around the table, not on the stove:

  • If you roast or bake your turkey, set a timer and don’t leave the house while it’s in the oven. And make sure juices don’t spill onto the heating element.
  • If you fry, broil or boil the bird, don’t wander away while it’s cooking. Keep the area around the stovetop free of flammable items such as paper towels, packaging and dish cloths. Keep a large pot lid or baking sheet nearby to smother any pan fires.
  • If you’re using a fryer, make sure the oil doesn’t overheat. Use a thermometer to monitor the oil’s temperature. Thaw the turkey and dry it off completely before placing it into hot oil. Don’t overfill the pot with oil – that’s a serious fire hazard. Use heavy-duty gloves. Make sure children and pets stay at least three feet away from the fryer. And don’t fry the turkey indoors.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby, just in case.

The key to a safe turkey-frying experience is to make sure the turkey is completely thawed and dried off. Patting the outside of the turkey dry with paper towels is also a good idea, he said.

Finally, officials said those frying their turkey should put the fryer on a sturdy, flat surface such as a patio or concrete driveway — but it needs to be at least 10 feet from any combustible material.


John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

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